We’ve all heard the feel good stories of people who quit their job soon after starting a home-based business to work full time from home. While this should be the goal of all home business owners, the reality is that most people need to continue working at a full time job, at least for a while. This means growing your business part time, a scenario that can often present a very different set of challenges.
There are specific strategies you can use to make sure you invest sufficient time in your home business to reach your goals.
1. Develop a dedicated workspace for your business. If you are going to work at home, even part-time, you will need to have a dedicated area for your business. Preferably, this will be a room with a good solid door and a lock. But if this is not possible, try to arrange furniture (desks, book cases, etc.) in such a way to make your workspace obvious to and separate from others in the family. Make rules regarding privacy of this space, and stick to them. After all, this is the place where you are working on your family’s fortune. It is a sacred space.
2. Block out specific times during the week to work on your business. For the part time home business owner, specifically those with family obligations, this can be the largest obstacle to success. The key to overcoming this obstacle is planning and cooperation. You need to block out those times during the week when you will NOT be interrupted (except in emergencies). These times can be the same each week, or can vary from week to week depending on family obligations. If the latter is the case, it is best to sit down as a family at the beginning of each week with a calendar, figure out everyone’s needs for the week, and agree on blocked out time for developing your business. Post this calendar in a place where all can see it, and be rigid in keeping to these times.
3. Make every minute count. When you are working part-time on your business, it’s important to make proper use of your time. If you have only 2-3 hours to work on your business a couple of nights a week, you had better make that time count. This means giving preference to income producing activities, those that directly produce income for your business. I recommend to all my team members working their business part time that they dedicate at least 70% of their time to income producing activities. What are such activities? This will be a subject of another article, but basically these include any activity that directly produces income for your business.
What about the rest of your time? If you are spending 70% of your time performing income-producing activities, I recommend spending 20% of your time developing essential marketing skills and supporting your team. Ten percent of your time should be dedicated to personal development and self-improvement.
4. Outsource whenever possible. If you have limited time to spend on your business, you will need to pick and choose the skills you will want to acquire or develop and identify those skills that are not worth your time or would take too much time to learn. With the latter, it is best to outsource them whenever possible. It is essential for part time business builders to understand that they cannot do it all, and develop an outsourcing strategy early on in the process.
5. Find an accountability partner. An accountability partner is someone who will keep you accountable for your time. I have used an accountability partner for years and have found it to be one of the most important strategies for keeping the growth of my home business on course. This person does not need to be in the same geographic location; in fact, my accountability partner is on the opposite coast to myself. We use Google Documents to share our accomplishments and our distractions, our successes and our failures. And we never hesitate to give each other a good swift kick should we fail to dedicate sufficient time to our business.
While using these 5 strategies will not guarantee the success of your home-based business, failure to employ these or similar strategies will almost certainly result in the demise of your business venture. Part-time business owners face unique challenges that require planning, resolve, and an unflinching determination to succeed.